A new soldering iron.

ge_rik

ge_rik

British narrow gauge (esp. Southwold and W&LLR)
24 Oct 2009
9,544
90
Cheshire
www.riksrailway.blogspot.com
I trade-up to one of these when the previous Maplin unit failed after three months. - On about six hours a day, mind....
Had my Maplin iron for about 4 years and like yours stays on almost continuously (absolutely continuously on those days and nights when I forget to turn it off!). Either I've been lucky Phil or you've been unlucky. :) :( :nod: :shake:

Rik
 
maxi-model

maxi-model

UK/US/ROW steam narrow gauge railways 1:1
27 Oct 2009
4,404
52
Bucks/Oxon/Northants area
Likewise. Mine still going strong (that'll put the kibosh on it). Great value versatile bit of kit for the hobbyist. I bought it so I could solder up white metal kit parts, from step supports to whole bogies. But great for so much more, electrical, brass sheet, etc'. Also have a 100 watt Antex job for those things that need a bit of umph.

Also got a copy of a handy little booklet, "The Art of Soldering" credited to R. Brewster. Invaluable. Max
 
PhilP

PhilP

G Scale, 7/8th's, Electronics
5 Jun 2013
22,481
165
Tamworth, Staffs.
Had my Maplin iron for about 4 years and like yours stays on almost continuously (absolutely continuously on those days and nights when I forget to turn it off!). Either I've been lucky Phil or you've been unlucky. :) :( :nod: :shake:

Rik
Unlucky, I think..
It was the 'brains' that failed. The iron itself was fine. All of a sudden it was not melting the solder.. Looked at the station, and display was blank. Iron worked on a bench PSU (to finish the job in hand), so took it back.
The other unit was on a 30% off, so cost me very little to go up to that model.

Has done everything I have thrown at it, so far..
 
G-force1

G-force1

Prevarication Rules!
4 Aug 2015
3,146
0
North Middle Earth
You're not supposed to throw things at it Phil, it's for soldering. No wonder the first one didn't last! :rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes:


;)
 
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ge_rik

ge_rik

British narrow gauge (esp. Southwold and W&LLR)
24 Oct 2009
9,544
90
Cheshire
www.riksrailway.blogspot.com
Unlucky, I think..
It was the 'brains' that failed. The iron itself was fine.......All of a sudden it was not melting the solder.. Looked at the station, and display was blank.
I think mine must be the el cheapo version. No display and no brain, just a knob (on the 'station', not holding the iron! :eek: ). Less to go wrong I suppose.

Rik
 
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Sarah Winfield

Registered
20 Jun 2016
1,011
1
74
Dorset
Not wishing to interrupt the thread but I bought, probably 5 or 6 years ago, two Parkside soldering irons from Lidl. The first was an ordinary variable heat one, called a Soldering Station which lasted quite well.

The other which I have just retrieved from the shed is model ref PLP 100 A1 and described as a Soldering Gun.

I have never used this but am considering it might be large enough for soldering wires to my rail. What do members think please?

If it is of a high enough wattage at 100W how do I prevent the sleepers from damage, when I am soldering to the rail please?

Thank you.,

Sarah Winfield
 
PhilP

PhilP

G Scale, 7/8th's, Electronics
5 Jun 2013
22,481
165
Tamworth, Staffs.
Sarah,

I guess you know how to solder, so not going through that..
Just make sure everything is clean and get the iron/gun good and hot before attempting to solder..

You can use a lump of metal, just beyond the next sleeper from where you are soldering.. - Piece of steel bar, oldy-worldy kitchen scale weights are good, or a pair of self-locking pliers (Mole grips)..
Basically, anything fairly 'massive' to take the heat out of the rail..

Oh, and it WILL get warm, and it WILL take a while for the rail to cool.. So do one joint, and give it a minute before moving your heat-sink..
 
ge_rik

ge_rik

British narrow gauge (esp. Southwold and W&LLR)
24 Oct 2009
9,544
90
Cheshire
www.riksrailway.blogspot.com
In my track-power days, I bonded every rail joint with wire and soldered jumper wires across every point. I never had a problem melting sleepers. As Phil says, you need to make sure the bit of rail you want to solder is clean. I found, the heat dissipated quite quickly from the point of contact with the iron and only needed a heat sink when soldering very close to the plastic frogs of points.

Here's a close up of the jumpers on one of my points. As you can see, no evidence of melted plastic.
96980_58f21da7a48cfbf58ef4c375df29eb69.jpg


96981_73ceb998d79ca9e8b3e9290a18bee4a2.jpg


Link to the blog post explaining what I did - https://riksrailway.blogspot.com/2012/09/how-i-repaired-lgb-pointwork.html


Rik
 
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ge_rik

ge_rik

British narrow gauge (esp. Southwold and W&LLR)
24 Oct 2009
9,544
90
Cheshire
www.riksrailway.blogspot.com
This is what I wrote in 2012, Sarah. I hope it's helpful.

My main piece of advice is to ensure the rail is filed clean before it is tinned - I used the end of a square needle file to rub down the rail until I get clean bare metal. I find that holding the iron hard against the rail for around five seconds and then feeding multicore solder in between the iron and the rail is usually sufficient to tin the rail without melting the plastic chairs either side. This is particularly important when soldering near the pivoted end of the point blade as softening the plastic sleeper can cause the blade to become misaligned (how do I know???). The wire is also tinned before it is then held next to the tinned part of the rail and the heat applied from the iron for around another five seconds or so - I use a small flat bladed screwdriver to keep the pressure applied to the wire while the solder hardens. I reckon I eventually got the entire remediation process down to around seven minutes per point - ten at the outside.

Rik
 
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Sarah Winfield

Registered
20 Jun 2016
1,011
1
74
Dorset
Thank you for your replies and advice.

Although I have soldered in the past I have by no means any natural ability; probably more an inability. I'm going at try with a short length of rail and find out if I can solder a wire to it before moving on to my layout.

If I use "a lump of metal" or something similar doesn't it take the heat away from the rail where I want to solder?

Sarah Winfield
 
Neil Robinson

Neil Robinson

Registered
24 Oct 2009
9,308
11
N W Leicestershire
If I use "a lump of metal" or something similar doesn't it take the heat away from the rail where I want to solder?

Sarah Winfield
The idea is that you need to heat the rail between the sleepers to solder the wire but the rail near the sleepers needs to be cool enough not to melt the plastic. The " lumps of metal" near these sleepers act as "heat sinks". It helps to use a powerful iron for a short time period rather than a less powerful one for longer.
 
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GAP

GAP

G Scale trains, Lawn Bowls.
14 Jun 2011
2,442
8
64
Bomaderry, New South Wales, Australia
There are 2 types of cleaning involved in soldering, they are mechanical and chemical.
Mechanical means abrasive type cleaning to remove surface oxidization.
Chemical involves cleaning after mechanical with some of degreaser (Isopropyl alcohol is the favoured but metho will work) then apply a flux to aid solder flow (it cleans the metal when heated).
Heat sinks are used to contain heat transfer and thus prevent damage as has been said previously locking pliers are very efficient.
Once the joint has cooled any remaining flux should be removed again with Iso or metho as in some cases if it is heated its corrosive effect can cause damage.

For soldering rail I use a mini blow torch and plumbers soldering fluid for electronics I have a couple of temp controlled irons.

From my RAAF training after you make a joint and have finished, tin the tip to prevent the iron corroding and turn off the iron if you are not using it for a couple of hours it will prolong tip life. At the end of the day always tin the tip.
Prior to soldering a joint wipe the tip on a damp (not wet) sponge to clean the tip
Basically cleanliness is next to godliness when it comes to efficient joints and as every old hippy knows good joints are everything, ;) ;)
 
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trammayo

trammayo

Interested in vintage commercial vehicle, trams, t
24 Oct 2009
20,514
173
70
Co. Mayo
Basically cleanliness is next to godliness when it comes to efficient joints and as every old hippy knows good joints are everything, ;) ;)
That's exactly what my father used to tell me! Then I found self-cleaning fluxes!
 
dunnyrail

dunnyrail

DOGS, Garden Railways, Steam Trains, Jive Dancing,
25 Oct 2009
14,424
185
71
St.Neots Cambridgeshire UK
In my track-power days, I bonded every rail joint with wire and soldered jumper wires across every point. I never had a problem melting sleepers. As Phil says, you need to make sure the bit of rail you want to solder is clean. I found, the heat dissipated quite quickly from the point of contact with the iron and only needed a heat sink when soldering very close to the plastic frogs of points.

Here's a close up of the jumpers on one of my points. As you can see, no evidence of melted plastic.
View attachment 238270

View attachment 238271

Link to the blog post explaining what I did - https://riksrailway.blogspot.com/2012/09/how-i-repaired-lgb-pointwork.html


Rik
As Rik shows he has soldered close to the edgs of the Webb of the Rail. The closer you can get to that even soldering on the edge the less Rail you will be heating up to make a joint. Though if you do not Tin the Wire First then re flux it so that the heat of the rail solders the wire and rail together it can tend to be a 3 handed job.

When cold you should be able to give the wire a good tug to ensure that you do not have a dry joint. This will clearly show if you do tug the wire off as probably no solder will have flowed to where you were attempting to join the wire.
 
ge_rik

ge_rik

British narrow gauge (esp. Southwold and W&LLR)
24 Oct 2009
9,544
90
Cheshire
www.riksrailway.blogspot.com
It helps to use a powerful iron for a short time period rather than a less powerful one for longer.
That's the important bit I missed off my blog post, thanks Neil.

I made that mistake when I first went over to G Scale. I tried using my 25W iron and it took ages to transfer the heat to the rail - by which time the chairs and sleepers either side had become like mush. My 75W iron was OK and I now have a 100W iron (only because the 75W iron gave up the ghost).

Rik
 
Slawman

Slawman

Deckline
9 Apr 2018
277
0
Sydney
Happy to second the Atten suggestion, I have a dual re-work and solder station which is about 6 years old. Still going strong and great for very fine bench work.

As I think I mentioned in an earlier post, the cordless butane is my go to for the railway. I just take it to wherever the work needs to be done.
 
No72

No72

Registered
21 Dec 2014
221
0
Melobourne Australia
Can't say I'd heard of Silverline before (other than as a charity for old folk), but the 25W looks like the right sort of size.
Size is not important. Its the amount of heat you can get into the tip irrespective of the size of the tip to solder the joint quickly and efficiently. As an example if you are soldering transistors onto a PCB you are not going to need the same heat as you need to solder a large diode onto a ground plane...
 
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